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Pirola Variant


Goddess

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This won't be good news for those who love riding the Panic Train and visiting all the Mandate cars, but here is what Dr. Byram Bridle has to say about the new variant:

A friend asked for my opinion about a story that was just published. Rather than provide only him with an answer, I figured that others might benefit from the insights of a viral immunologist who specializes in vaccinology, and that has been on the front lines of COVID-19 science since the beginning. Here is my take…

The story was given the title “This Fall's Covid Variant Might Really Be Different“.

It could just as easily have been entitled “This Fall's Covid Variant Might Not Be Different in Any Meaningful Way“.

  https%3A%2F%2Fsubstack-post-media.s3.ama  

BA.2.86—dubbed “pirola” […] has been detected in only about a dozen people but it has surfaced in all corners of the world.

BA.2.86, also known as ‘pirola’ (named after an asteroid near the planet Venus), is the newest variant of SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of the disease we call ‘COVID-19’). This new variant is ‘under monitoring’.

This quote from the paper suggests that the virus is not highly transmissible and/or it is not particularly dangerous. A highly transmissible virus that is in 12 people sprinkled around the world would be capable of spreading rapidly. I suspect that it has likely spread much more than what is currently appreciated, but it is not causing substantial disease, so nobody really cares enough to get tested. A dangerous virus would be easily detected and would prompt testing because it would be causing severe disease and death, which could not be missed. This sentence alone alleviates concerns about this variant of SARS-CoV-2.

What’s troubling about this variant, scientists say, is that it contains more than 30 mutations on the spike protein, which is what helps the virus enter cells and cause an infection. This means it might be able to evade current vaccines and previous infections more easily, and it likely won’t be a great match with the fall booster expected to be approved soon.

An accumulation of mutations in the spike protein are exactly what we would expect. After all, the COVID-19 shots only target the spike protein. It is one of the poor design features of these shots. The COVID-19 shots do not come anywhere close to conferring immunity against infection with nor transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Applying a non-lethal selective pressure against a single protein from a virus is the perfect recipe for promoting the emergence of naturally occurring variants that have changed the target protein enough to facilitate long-term survival of the virus.

Of course new variants will be better able to escape historical immunity. However, the reporter failed to disseminate important information here. Naturally acquired immunity is superior to the sub-par immune responses induced by outdated COVID-19 shots. Importantly, naturally acquired immune responses target multiple components of SARS-CoV-2, not just the spike protein. A person with naturally acquired immunity will have both antibodies and T cells that can kill SARS-CoV-2 by virtue of recognizing things other than the spike protein. So, it will be more difficult for new variants to completely evade naturally acquired immunity. It would be expected that those who only have had immune responses induced by the COVID-19 shots will be more susceptible to getting infected and will be prone to more severe illness than people with naturally acquired immunity.

Also, this cycle of ever-emerging new variants of a virus is not new. It occurs with every cold-causing virus. People get infected, mount an effective immune response and then are protected until the virus has changed enough to cause mild disease again. This has been happening our entire lives. With pathogens that are not particularly serious, they key is to not allow your immunity to get outdated by isolating yourself from the microbial world. This is likely a key reason why many people, especially children, got so sick with so many pathogens once they were released from their long-term COVID-19 lockdown prisons.

Another point missed in the article is that too many mutations in the protein that is needed for a virus to infect cells can lead to reduced infectivity, making it less transmissible and less dangerous.

I can almost guarantee that the new COVID-19 shots that will be released in the Fall will fail at least as badly as their predecessors. They keep targeting versions of the spike protein that are largely extinct. Also, the technology has not come close to fulfilling the definition of an ideal vaccine. The rollout of COVID-19 shots that are outdated and based on a fundamentally flawed technology are almost certainly a key reason why SARS-CoV-2 is mutating far faster than the average coronavirus. This vicious cycle needs to stop before the people pushing these shots are successful at forcing mutations that result in a genuinely dangerous version of SARS-CoV-2.

It’s drastically different

and

It’s unclear whether the variant will result in different or more severe symptoms.

Being different doesn’t equate with being a substantial problem. Any new variant of any virus has the theoretical potential to cause more severe symptoms, if it even causes disease in the first place. Nobody needs to be concerned about a theoretical issue when the preliminary data already suggest the virus is not particularly dangerous. The people who would likely be at risk of more severe symptoms would be those whose immune responses were induced by COVID-19 shots only, since the can only target the protein that has mutated in this variant. The rest of the virus will not have changed much, meaning that broad-based naturally acquired immunity will keep many people disease-free and blunt the severity of any disease that might develop. The good news is that almost every person on earth will likely have some form of naturally acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2 by now (although data suggest this is likely sub-par for those who got COVID-19 shots before being infected).

Positive cases of BA.2.86 have been reported in the U.S., Denmark, Israel, South Africa, Portugal and the U.K.

and

It’s also been detected in wastewater in the U.S.

All references to ‘cases’ in this story are based on testing. Note that they do not even refer to these as cases of COVID-19; just “cases of BA.2.86”. Some people who get infected with SARS-CoV-2 go on to develop the disease that we call COVID-19, many do not. If these were severe cases involving hospitalization and death, this would have been reported. The fact that the fear mongering that we have come to expect from mainstream media could not be easily infused into this text suggests that infections to date have likely led to only mild disease, if any disease at all. Wastewater testing certainly cannot identify cases of disease.

Jetelina says she hypothesizes that if the variant spreads widely, it would be able to escape the neutralizing antibodies we have from vaccines and previous infections, making it easier to get infected, but might not be as successful with our immune system’s second line of defense, the T-cells, which protect against severe disease.

‘Jetelina’ is an epidemiologist who, with all due respect, lacks sufficient training in immunology, especially the sub-discipline of vaccinology, and virology to be accurately educating the public about this topic. This scientist has provided information that is misleading. A new variant that has dramatically changed its spike protein will not be able to achieve equal escape from antibodies induced by ‘vaccines’ versus previous infections. It will much more easily escape from those induced by the COVID-19 shots because they ONLY target the spike protein. Those with naturally acquired immunity have antibodies targeting other viral proteins that have not changed substantially. Further, T cells don’t only protect against severe disease. T cells are perfectly capable of outright protecting against disease through a form of immunity that we call ‘near-sterilizing immunity’; where infection can occur, but the virus is cleared rapidly enough by T cells to avoid the onset of disease. Finally, if this epidemiologist has dampened concern about the Pirola variant being able to escape from T cells induced by COVID-19 shots, then they should be much less concerned for those with naturally acquired immunity who have T cells against an array of proteins in SARS-CoV-2.

Bloom says the evolutionary jump of BA.2.86 is similar to that of the original Omicron, which burst onto the scene in the winter of 2021 resulting in a spike in infections.

‘Bloom’ is a virologist. The implication here is that the Pirola variant might result in a substantial new wave of infections. I agree. But, what was left out is the fact that Omicron was not dangerous for most people; and Pirola is likely less dangerous, especially for those with naturally acquired immunity.

Omicron had the potential to be dangerous in the people who are typically at elevated risk for any infectious pathogen (like the frail elderly and the immunosuppressed), with the exception of very young children that have a unique biology that makes it difficult for SARS-CoV-2 to get into their bodies (other pathogens can be more dangerous in very young kids because they have underdeveloped immune systems). So far, it looks like Pirola might cause a typical wave of the common cold. It might spread to a lot of people like most cold-causing viruses do, and for most, it will cause mild, if any, disease. High risk individuals should take the precautions they normally would in any ‘cold and flu season’ (more aptly dubbed the ‘low vitamin D season’ by many immunologists); stay away from people who are sick and sick people stay at home, with a special emphasis on avoiding the people who are at elevated risk.

(As an additional health tip, get your blood tested for vitamin D concentrations and consider supplementing with vitamin D (and some vitamin K) if needed; research suggests that optimal immunological functioning requires vitamin D to be at or above 50 ng/mL.)

But he and other scientists, including the CDC, note that the Covid-19 landscape is different now as almost everyone has some immunity to Covid-19 from either a previous infection and vaccines.

Wow, it took three years, but more people are recognizing the truth that many of us were shouting from the rooftops; that naturally acquired immunity is a valid form of immunity. And, as we know from a ‘Mount Everest’-sized body of scientific literature, it offers better protection than what COVID-19 shots can confer. It is too bad this wasn’t recognized prior to forcing lots of people out of their jobs; and doing horrific things like denying transplants to people that had proof of robust naturally acquired immunity but lacked certification of a needle being placed into the shoulder, which, at best, could induce sub-optimal immune responses and in some cases, no response at all.

This statement in the news article wrongly implies that nobody had any relevant immunity when SARS-CoV-2 burst on the scene. This is a lie that many people have propagated. SARS-CoV-2 is called a coronavirus because of its similarity to other coronaviruses. It is more similar to other coronaviruses than it is different. Many people had pre-existing immunity against historical coronaviruses that cross-reacted to some degree with SARS-CoV-2. For many people, this is why they never experienced COVID-19 after getting infected with SARS-CoV-2, and why many others had substantially blunted disease. Never again should the value of naturally acquired immunity be dismissed.

Scientists don’t know where the variant originated. Because it contains so many mutations, they speculate it developed over months in an immunocompromised person with a chronic infection.

It is fascinating that they want to lay the blame on an immunocompromised person. The concept here is that an immunocompromised person cannot, obviously, respond effectively to any vaccine (or infection). As such, they can never mount more than a sub-optimal immune response; one that usually fails to stop the acquisition of a disease and transmission of the causative agent. What was left out here is that this is precisely what happens in almost every HEALTHY person that received a COVID-19 shot. There is zero evidence that the immunocompromised are to blame for this; it is pure speculation. The reality is that the massive number of healthy people that got COVID-19 shots that could not induce immunity represent a more than adequate population to incubate and spread novel variants of SARS-CoV-2. What this biology indicates is that those with naturally acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2 are the least likely to promote the emergence of new variants. These are the safest people to be around.

“It’s probably been evolving for quite some time,” says T. Ryan Gregory, an evolutionary biologist and professor at University of Guelph in Ontario. Gregory says it isn’t clear whether it’s taking off as a variant the way Omicron did.

With surveillance efforts reduced, the new variant could be common in a locale without being noticed, says Gregory.

‘Gregory’ is an evolutionary biologist who specializes in studying the genomes (genetic blueprints) of animals like insects, spiders, crustaceans, molluscs, echinoderms, and annelids. Why he was interviewed for a story focused on placing a novel virus variant into the broader context of vaccines and naturally acquired immunity is beyond me. He has been active in attacking real experts who have continually spoken proven truths far before he could understand them. The comment about a pathogen potentially being more common than what low surveillance efforts imply is obvious yet practically meaningless. I don’t understand why one would increase surveillance efforts for a variant that is so anemic that the only way to appreciate its presence is through the widespread use of poorly calibrated PCR tests that cannot differentiate infectious versus non-infectious viruses. If people aren’t getting sick from a new variant, then I can guarantee that our medical resources can be put to much better use against serious health problems that are always prevalent (like cancers, autoimmune diseases, the opioid crisis, mental health issues, COVID-19 shot-induced side effects, etc.). Increasing surveillance for a virus that is not showing signs of being dangerous could lead to something that we have seen way too much of; a bunch of data that can be misused by people for fear-mongering purposes.

Experts in the relevant disciplines who have integrity and are willing to discuss differences of opinions should be interviewed for these kinds of stories. An overly superficial understanding of immunology too often results in misinterpretations of data and/or failure to place data into a proper context. In turn, this has led to a lot of unnecessary and unjustified fear-mongering over the past couple of years. I’m not sure why there has been such a paucity of interviews with immunologists for these kinds of news stories related to immune responses against SARS-CoV-2.

Even if BA.2.86 doesn’t spread widely, it’s an important reminder that vastly different strains can surface out of nowhere, says Justin Lessler, a professor of epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

New strains of viruses do not pop out of nowhere. More likely, they are derived from biological systems that are exerting non-lethal selective pressures on them. At the top of this list are those whose immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 were induced only via COVID-19 shots. If you want to slow the emergence of new variants, STOP THE SHOTS! Stop putting those of us who know better at risk of getting exposed to a genuinely very dangerous version of SARS-CoV-2. Similarly, stop manufacturing viruses like SARS-CoV-2 in labs; they have not gone through the same selective pressures that naturally occurring viruses have.

Lessler says the fact that the locations where the variant has been identified haven’t experienced large surges in cases is a hopeful sign that the strain might not be proliferating rapidly.

I agree. There are much more concerning medical issues to tackle.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t mutate to be able to spread quickly at some point,” he notes.

So many ‘experts’ want to keep their finger near the ‘fear trigger’. An equally valid way of stating this is, “But that doesn’t mean it can’t mutate to be even less capable of spreading at some point“. If we really want to reduce the chance of dangerous mutations occurring in SARS-CoV-2, STOP THE SHOTS!

In closing, my expert opinion matches that of Dr. David Dowdy…

Some public health experts caution against reading too much into the new variant.

We don’t want to be sounding alarm bells over a variant that is just as likely to die out as it is to become the next big thing,” says David Dowdy, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “If we did that for every single variant we’d be sounding alarm bells every single day.”

This kind of logic seems rare these days and is so very welcome. I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

Edited by Goddess
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Covid is on the rise again, two people I know have come down with it in the last week. One is a triple organ recipient. She is fitter than hell and dragon boats all over the world. She is presently in hospital getting a couple of days IV antibiotics. Some people take this seriously.

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14 minutes ago, Aristides said:

Covid is on the rise again, two people I know have come down with it in the last week. One is a triple organ recipient. She is fitter than hell and dragon boats all over the world. She is presently in hospital getting a couple of days IV antibiotics. Some people take this seriously.

Not surprised.

I read the Cochrane paper encompassing a cohort of 50,000 health care workers, which showed the more jabs you got, the more times you got covid. 

And all the studies that show they degrade your immune system to the point it's in the negatives by the third shot.

I'll wave while you go speeding by on that Panic Train.

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6 minutes ago, Goddess said:

Not surprised.

I read the Cochrane paper encompassing a cohort of 50,000 health care workers, which showed the more jabs you got, the more times you got covid. 

And all the studies that show they degrade your immune system to the point it's in the negatives by the third shot.

I'll wave while you go speeding by on that Panic Train.

I've had all the jabs, 5 I think. Had Covid once, last January.

 

Transplant recipients are on immune suppressants for the rest of their lives but nice of you to just blow them off.

Edited by Aristides
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58 minutes ago, Aristides said:

So how did millions get it and die before there were vaccines?

Read the article.

Read up on immunology/vaccinology/epidemiology/immunology.

If everyone at least tried to have a basic knowledge of these things, we wouldn't get konked over the head by money-grubbing, fear mongerers and loaded onto the Panic Train.

Sorry but you have proved to be one who likes to squawk a lot but still remain ignorant.

I've lost patience with your ilk.

Now you'll have to find answers to your questions on your own. But I think you don't REALLY want answers. Just enjoy squawking.

I'm not even sure you have the brain power to understand the above article, which is why you didn't read it and just showed up here to squawk.

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1 hour ago, ExFlyer said:

I, personally, am glad they are coming up with a vaccine for this. Yes, I have a "fear trigger".

As a cancer survivor with a permanently damaged immune system, I will be first in line for the vaccine. And the flu vaccine as well.

I'll be facing open heart surgery for a defective valve I was born with soon. I had cancer surgery right in the middle of the pandemic. 

When's the next vaccine rollout?

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1 hour ago, Goddess said:

Read the article.

Read up on immunology/vaccinology/epidemiology/immunology.

If everyone at least tried to have a basic knowledge of these things, we wouldn't get konked over the head by money-grubbing, fear mongerers and loaded onto the Panic Train.

Sorry but you have proved to be one who likes to squawk a lot but still remain ignorant.

I've lost patience with your ilk.

Now you'll have to find answers to your questions on your own. But I think you don't REALLY want answers. Just enjoy squawking.

I'm not even sure you have the brain power to understand the above article, which is why you didn't read it and just showed up here to squawk.

I read the article and basically it says they don't know what it is going to do, All the rest is your editorial comment.

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I won't be assigning labels here, but some scientists among us thought it would be a great idea to trick the uneducated pueblo into their great plans (for their own, pueblo's good and how else) by creative playing with terminology. It's a common knowledge that vaccines proper provide long lasting protection against the infectious agent in the large part of the population by being lethal to the agent, eliminating it completely. What we have here with the vaccines+ though is a large part of the population (thanks smart ones!) as opposed to a smaller fraction really needed extra protection, carrying the agent, live, for considerable time, coexisting with the antibodies induced by the vaccines"".

Now viruses are known for a superb if not extreme ability to modification and adaptation, they can't really survive any other way nothing personal. So what do you expect the result would be? Yep, few surprises here.

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3 hours ago, Aristides said:

So how did millions get it and die before there were vaccines?

Why did more Canadians die after 85% of us got vaxed in 2021?

Why were 85.7% of covid deaths here among the multi-vaxed before our gov't stopped giving us access to that stat? 

Why did kids die over 5x as fast after we started vaxing them?

I know the answer to the first two questions, I don't know the answer to the last one.

 

If you take covid seriously then why do you always get a cancel-boner whenever an alternative treatment is being studied? 

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1 minute ago, Nefarious Banana said:

What type of cancer did you have, and how long ago?  Please pardon my question and if you don't feel free to answer, I understand completely.  Thank you.

Colorectal and very low in the tract. 4 years ago.

2 months of Chemo, 36 radiation treatments, surgery, 2 more months of chemo (pills this time)  and colostomy bag for 1 year.

Immune system very compromised and on medications but cannot take chances.

I am a cancer survivor and am very happy about that :)

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2 hours ago, eyeball said:

I'll be facing open heart surgery for a defective valve I was born with soon. I had cancer surgery right in the middle of the pandemic. 

When's the next vaccine rollout?

 a nation cannot be led by geriatrics riven by disease

step aside, and let the young live their lives free 

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20 minutes ago, Nefarious Banana said:

I thank you for your response EF.  You've fought the fight, and good health to you sir.

young Canadians are only pathetic

in their lack of resolve to overthrow the ignominious rule of these disease ridden geriatrics

Canada was once a land of roughnecks & lumberjacks

now it is the panicked land of silver haired mask wearing old bitties being pushed around in their wheelchairs

a nation which privileges the old over the young, is already deada

and that is moribund Canada now in a nutshell

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10 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

young Canadians are only pathetic

in their lack of resolve to overthrow the ignominious rule of these disease ridden geriatrics

Canada was once a land of roughnecks & lumberjacks

now it is the panicked land of silver haired mask wearing old bitties being pushed around in their wheelchairs

a nation which privileges the old over the young, is already dead

What's your point Dougie?  Not sure what you mean . . . 

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54 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

 a nation cannot be led by geriatrics riven by disease

step aside, and let the young live their lives free 

 

42 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

young Canadians are only pathetic

in their lack of resolve to overthrow the ignominious rule of these disease ridden geriatrics

Canada was once a land of roughnecks & lumberjacks

now it is the panicked land of silver haired mask wearing old bitties being pushed around in their wheelchairs

a nation which privileges the old over the young, is already deada

and that is moribund Canada now in a nutshell

 

27 minutes ago, Dougie93 said:

 lunatic panic riven Canada caters to the old

that is not how any nation is supposed to work

the only way a nation thrives is to cater to the young

which is why Canada is dying

Just proves the point that you are a special kind of disrespectful  a$$hole. A total zero.

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22 minutes ago, ExFlyer said:

Just proves the point that you are a special kind of disrespectful  a$$hole. A total zero.

you're weak

my grandparents sacrificed everything for me as a young man

and now I have it all thanks to them

meanwhile, you are a burden on the necks of the young

you are the total zero, a death shroud over the vibrant young people, dragging them down into your miseries

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Just now, Dougie93 said:

you're weak

my grandparents sacrificed everything for me as a young man

and now I have it all thanks to them

meanwhile, you are a burden on the necks of the young

you are the total zero, a death shroud over the vibrant young people, dragging them down into your miseries

When did you have your grandparents put down?

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11 minutes ago, Aristides said:

When did you have your grandparents put down?

my grandparents fought in the Second World War ; so I could live free

that is what they told me : we fought so you could live free

so I could find a wife, have a home, live the good life

and everything they promised, I have received

unlike the poor Canadian young people now

I feel bad for them, that their grandparents were not the Greatest Generation

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